Christopher Aust, Master Trainer
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As many of you know, I have been working non-stop to raise money, awareness, find fosters/owners and promote the organizations working to help the animals affected by Hurricane Katrina. It has been exhausting but I'm certain not nearly so as it has been for the volunteers on the ground in the affected area.
I had given serious consideration to going down there to see what I could do to help, but after talking to individuals and organizations in place, I determined I would be best able to help by doing what I am doing from home. In a disaster of this magnitude, we not only need people on the front lines, we also need people in the background helping to support the cause.
Since the disaster, I have received letters from many people. Some are people wanting to know who to donate to. Others were from people who have lost their animals or want to foster some of the dogs that are missing their families.
There is another type of letter I have been receiving and this one truly pisses me off! It is letters from people who are working on the front lines. Most of the letters are complaining about the work, ethics and in my opinion, abuse of animals at the hands of the largest animal welfare groups the United States on the ground in New Orleans and other cities affected by Katrina.
Now we all know there is no love lost between me and this organization. For some time I have criticized their financial practices and what I feel is extremely deceptive fundraising practices. However, I initially thought they would at least help constructively considering the magnitude of this catastrophe. If what I am reading in these letters is true, I was not only naïve, but I was out and out stupid. Here are just some of the allegations against the organization coming out of Gonzales LA ...
There are always going to be the dirt bags out there who will take advantage of a tragedy for financial gain. We expect that to a certain extent even if it is sickening. What we don't expect is for national organizations with tax-exempt status to turn a tragedy like Katrina into a pocket lining opportunity. That is exactly what it appears this organization is doing to me.
It seems that Katrina has shown how ill-prepared we, as a nation, were in the face of natural disaster. Not just with regard to our animals but also people. While we must move forward and continue to recover from Katrina, we should also take a few minutes to evaluate our successes and failures and make steps to improve our actions for the next disaster.
For this reason, I am asking all of our readers to contact anyone they know who was affected by Katrina. Find out their stories of dealing with the animal rescue groups in the area and send them to me. The good, the bad and the ugly. I want to know everything. This way, perhaps we can eliminate the money grubbing organizations and make sure the very best care for animals in turmoil is provided.
Please send your stories to:
Okay, that's it for now. I'm outta here!
Dog Chewing the Sofa? Puppy Eating Your Shoes? Or WORSE?
The dog we have is a small mixed breed that weighs approximately twenty pounds. In the past, she has been a little hesitant around other dogs to the point of mild aggression. We have worked with her to socialize her and now she is accepting of other dogs.
We want to get two Labs from a neighbor who breeds and shows her dogs. She has a litter that is due in a few weeks. What do you think is the best way to introduce the new puppies to current dog to keep animosity down and not make our current dog regress back to her anti-social ways.
Thanks for your assistance,
While most people will spend a lot of time deciding on the breed they want, few take the time to prepare their existing dog for the arrival of the new pack member. Unfortunately, when we don't take the time to prepare the existing dog for the arrival of the new one, we are setting ourselves up for failure or at least a difficult time. In the case of our writer, there are some unique circumstances that need to be considered.
Bringing a new dog into the home with an existing dog is a decision that often isn't given the consideration it should. While the human members may think this is a great idea, the existing dog could very well have a different idea. We really have to look at it from the dog's perspective in order to properly prepare our dog for the new arrival. Rather than do a generic scenario, lets focus on Janice's situation.
Janice acknowledges her dog has experienced “anti-social” behavior in the past. To simplify, her dog used to be dog aggressive. I worked with Janice some time back and we were able to resocialize the dog to the point where the dog enjoys playing with his other four-legged friends.
However, because of where they live, the dog has had little interaction with other dogs at the family home. The majority of the time the dog is around other dogs has been at the park or another family member's home. This is considerably different from having a new dog come into the existing dogs territory.
With this in mind, it is going to be important to see how the dog reacts to a new comer on their territory before we make the final decision to bring home a new dog. This is relatively easy to do by simply bringing an outside dog to the house to see how the dog reacts. Ideally, you want the visiting dog to be one the existing dog is familiar with.
You will want to closely monitor the way the dogs interact with each other and be prepared to modify any undesirable behavior. This will also give you the opportunity to watch for behaviors that may trigger aggression etc. If the existing dog handles the visitor well, then you should be okay.
When we were expecting the birth of my daughter, my youngest son, became a little jealous of the new baby and the attention being focused on her. There was all the new furniture, presents and toys being bought for the baby and he (keep in mind he had been the baby for nine years at this point) was feeling left out.
We made a point of including him in the process, which seemed to relieve his anxiety and make him comfortable with the situation. We made sure we kept our routine with him consistent and even made a point of giving him a little one-on-one time so he didn't feel left out. By the time Madalyn was born, he was really into being the big brother. Now that she is six, they are extremely tight.
Obviously, we can't sit down and explain to our existing dog that the new addition doesn't mean we don't love them any more. What we can do is make sure they understand their pack position in a consistent manner so we can prevent any jealousy from happening and make the adjustment period a little easier.
Preplanning is essential to successfully bringing a new dog into the home. The new dog will need to be provided with all of its own things. They will need their own dog food bowls, bed and toys. It isn't fair to the existing dog to expect them to share their stuff with the newcomer and by expecting them to share, you are encouraging territorial behavior.
While I like to think of myself as a “guy's guy,” I have to admit there is something about a puppy that easily turns me into a cooing, baby-talking buffoon. I can't help it. They are soft, cuddly and nothing beats the smell of puppy breath. I think most of us are like that to one extent or another. It is this mindset that often causes us to use poor judgment.
What we have to remember when we get a new dog in the house is the new dog has to live up to the same rules as the existing one. For instance, if you don't allow the existing dog to sit on the couch, you don't want to sit and hold the new puppy in your lap when you are on the couch. If you do, you are telling the existing dog they have a lower pack role than the new dog and this will often lead to resentment.
I strongly advise people who are getting a second/third dog to take their existing one to the breeder to meet the new dog(s) before you actually pick a dog. I know we all want to be the ones to pick the particular pup we are going to get, but your existing dog will probably be the better judge.
Keep in mind that dogs, like people, sometimes don't like another dog for no particular reason. We have all worked, gone to school or met someone we just didn't like for no real reason at all. We just didn't like them. While it isn't real common in dogs, it can happen so it is important you AND your dog pick a puppy your existing dog likes particularly if the dog has exhibited anti-social behavior in the past.
Once you have selected your new pack member, take the existing dog to visit the puppy a few times before brining them home. This allows your dog to become familiar with the new one before they hit home territory. Doing so allows for an easier transition for both the dogs.
When introducing the dogs to each other, I like to apply the K.I.S.S method. (Keep it Simple Stupid) Simply keep them leashed and allow them to meet on their own terms. It is best not to allow them to come nose to nose but otherwise let them do what they already know to do.
I recently saw a trainer who used what I call the Butt Sniff (BS) technique to prevent aggression during an introduction between two dogs. The BS technique is done by holding one dog still and allowing the other dog to come up and sniff its butt. Not only is this amateurish but can actually cause there to be an aggressive episode.
If you are afraid or hesitant to introduce your dog (on their own terms) to a new one because you fear aggression, it would probably be ill advised to be getting a second dog in the first place. By forcing the issue in this type of situation you are just asking for trouble. You should always completely resolve all behavioral issues in your current dog before even considering a new one.
I don't think I have to tell any of you that having a dog, much less multiple dogs, takes work, particularly when they are puppies. You will rarely hear me suggest to the average person to get more than one puppy at a time and almost never two puppies from the same litter if there is already a dog in the house. This is for a couple of reasons.
First, as I mentioned above, it is a lot of work. I know of very few people who can dedicate the time necessary to raise two puppies at once. I'm not saying it's impossible, just difficult and, based on the number of clients I have had in this category, I have seen more failures than successes.
Second, we have to look at the pack dynamics. Remember that even though a litter of puppies may only be eight weeks old, they have an established pack structure already. This was established by the mother and the pups themselves, and they are generally comfortable with it at this age.
When you bring in littermates to a home with an existing dog, we have actually introduced two separate pack structures that can often be difficult to mold into one. Remember, the pups have an established pack structure already and they will be hesitant, because of their maturity, to relinquish that status and adjust to their new environment.
Additionally, when we bring in littermates, they are going to be less likely to learn from the older dog and may even decide to challenge the older dog if they decide it is an interloper into their pack structure. This could lead to a multitude of behavioral issues to numerous to list.
This really applies whether you have a dog at home already or not. When getting new dogs, do it one at a time. It is simply easier to do and avoids having to deal with possible issues later. While I am certain I could handle raising numerous puppies at a time, the prospect isn't appealing.
If your plan is to have multiple dogs get one, train them, teach them their pack position and then get the next one. Waiting a couple of months between getting your dogs isn't going to kill anyone and you will maximize your chances of raising well adjusted and behaved companions.
A dog can express more with his tail in minutes than his owner can express with his tongue in hours.
I wanted to thank you for the wonderful article you wrote about Disaster Preparedness. Before reading it, I thought I was prepared but have now realized I was going about it all backwards. I have forwarded it to all my friends and family whether they have dogs or not. Please keep up the great work. We really appreciate all your efforts.
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The train was extremely crowded and he could not find a seat. He was dead on his feet and walked the length of the train looking for any place to sit down. Finally he found a compartment with seats facing each other; there was room for two people on each seat. On one side sat only a proper looking, older British lady with a small dog sitting in the empty seat beside her.
Could I please sit in that seat?" he asked. The lady was insulted. "You bloody Americans are so rude," she said. "Can't you see my dog is sitting there?" He walked through the train once more and still could not find a seat. He found himself back at the same place.
"Lady, I love dogs - have a couple at home - so I would be glad to hold your dog if I could sit down," he said. The lady replied, "You Americans are not only rude you are arrogant too."
He leaned against the wall for a time, but was so tired he finally said, "Lady, I've been on the front lines in Europe for three months with not a decent rest for all that time. Could I please sit there and hold your dog?" The lady replied, "You Americans are not only rude and arrogant, you are also obnoxious!"
With that comment, the soldier calmly stepped in, picked up the dog, threw it out the window, and sat down. The lady was speechless. An older, neatly dressed Englishman sitting across on the other seat spoke up.
"Young man, I do not know if all you Americans fit the lady's
description of you or not. But I do know that you Americans do
a lot of things wrong. You drive on the wrong side of the road,
you hold your fork with the wrong hand, and now you have just
thrown the wrong bitch out the window."
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Thank You For Reading! Have a Terrific Week!
Don't forget to send your comments, questions and suggestions on the BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter to:
Newsletter Archive: Master-Dog-Training.com/archive/
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